Men In Black International
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson
Director: F Gary Gray
They haven’t gotten the universe right, literally and philosophically.
This franchise has mostly worked on smartly done literal jokes and the charm of its lead actors. F Gary Gray, the director, has also used these ploys but somehow the combination is way beyond salvation. He is way beyond the center of MIB films.
When the first film released in 1997, it was one of its kind—mixing aliens with agents, two prominent genres of that time. Will Smith’s casual humour and Tommy Lee Jones’ deadpan expressions gave it an orthodox yet very identifiable touch. It was clichéd yet relatable. The sharp one-liners worked. Two decades ago, a smart retort was considered sharp. Not the case anymore.
Despite using latest VFX techniques, Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed earlier Men In Black films, was old school in his approach to creating drama. His characters never shied away from being juvenile or using crass humour. On the other hand, Gary Gray, also the director of films such as Straight Outta Compton and The Fate of the Furious, seems constantly confused about the balance of childish jokes and sci-fi backdrop.
The first and most prominent casualty of this dilemma is Chris Hemsworth, who appears totally out of sync. In fact, at one point, in a desperate attempt to generate laughter, he resorts to a Thor joke. Ironically, the major focus of MIB films used to be its contemporary nature and different milieu than other genre films.
Tessa Thompson has a confident entry as a rookie agent, but like everyone else, she gets sucked into a world of average thinking and totally lifeless execution. As far as her character goes, one of her works in the film is to cushion Hemsworth’s handsomeness and heroic qualities.
MIB International lacks drama and punch, both inside and outside the covert bureau operating for the welfare of all living beings including aliens. It’s international just for the sake of being international and is stuck in a time zone where alien films used to be mostly about salivating bizarre creatures.
Voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, a character named Pawny is the only one able to generate some genuine laughs but even that falls flat after a few minutes.
It’s not a film to be remembered for its surrounding, and what’s left in MIB International then. Let these agents pass without traffic signals.
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